In this installment of our Lake-Friendly Living Guide, we share simple ways to conserve water inside and outside your home. Water conservation is helpful for the environment, can reduce runoff from your property, and helps maintain your septic system, all while saving you money.
Water, water everywhere…
It happens every time. Turn a handle or push a button and we get all the water we need to do anything we want. From taking a quick sip at a bubbler, to filling a backyard swimming pool, we never have to worry that water won’t be available. If anything, we’re more likely to worry or complain about having too much water, especially when it comes in the form of rain that threatens to ruin our outdoor plans or makes us wish we’d packed an umbrella.
An increasing scarcity of fresh, usable water, however, may require us to reconsider those concerns. If recent estimates are accurate, a quarter of the world population is on the brink of running dry. If a quarter of the people who live in Lake Hopatcong’s four surrounding municipalities were at risk of not having water readily available, there would be 16,500 people—more than the population of Hopatcong alone—wondering where their next glass of water would come from.
People in Lake Hopatcong’s four surrounding communities use approximately 6.6 million gallons of water per day. To estimate your personal water use, check out this Water Footprint Calculator.
Yes, water covers 70 percent of our planet, but only 3 percent of the world’s water is fresh, and the majority of it is frozen in the form of glaciers.
While it’s easy to dismiss Doomsday scenarios as a concern for people far away, it wasn’t long ago that residents in the Lake Hopatcong area struggled through a drought that spanned two years. The extended dry period severely depleted reservoirs and prompted a drought warning for more than a dozen New Jersey counties, including Morris and Sussex.
New Jerseyans use approximately one trillion gallons of water per year. To understand that amount, imagine the entire state covered in eight inches of water. As with everything, positive change begins in our own back yards and state legislators in New Jersey have been considering a bill that encourages personal water conservation efforts. If approved, it would authorize the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to issue reward rebates to any homeowner who implements an eligible water capture, control, or conserve technique on their property.
For now, it’s enough to know that personal water conservation is not only helpful for the environment as a whole, but can also save homeowners a significant amount of money.
Take control of your water usage
- Fix leaking faucets.
- Turn off faucets while shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Turn off faucets completely when not in use.
- Install high-efficiency shower heads, which can save as many as 750 gallons a month.
- Take shorter showers and save 5-7 gallons a minute.
- When taking a bath, fill the tub only halfway and save 10-15 gallons.
- Install water-saving toilets, showerheads and faucet aerators.
- Compost vegetable waste instead of using the garbage disposal.
- Run the dishwasher only when full.
- Replace old dishwashers, toilets and washing machines with high-efficiency models. Machines with the Energy Star label can save about 7,000 gallons of water per year.
- Fix leaking faucets and hoses.
- Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler, to minimize evaporation.
- Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not your house, sidewalk or street.
- Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won’t run when it’s raining.
- Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees and in your garden to apply water directly to the roots, where it’s needed.
- Choose shrubs and ground covers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas, such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
- Spread a layer of organic mulch around plants to retain moisture and save water, time and money.
- Landscape with native plants that won’t need irrigation once they are established, saving the cost of installation and maintenance of an irrigation system.
- Install a rain barrel to collect runoff from your roof to use for watering your garden.
- Direct your downspouts onto your lawn or into a rain garden, away from your driveway and other impermeable surfaces.
- Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around pumps.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks.
- For a brief video from the New Jersey DEP on conserving water OUTSIDE your home, CLICK HERE.
- For a website list of OUTSIDE tips, CLICK HERE.
- For a brief video from the New Jersey DEP on conserving water INSIDE your home, CLICK HERE.
- For a website list of INSIDE tips, CLICK HERE.
Lake-Friendly Living Guide posts
This online series of Lake-Friendly Living Guide posts were funded through a grant from the Watershed Institute.